It’s been a year since Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing MORE (R-Iowa) asked Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up On The Trail: Census kicks off a wild redistricting cycle MORE how it handled National Security Agency officials who abused the agency's powers, and he still hasn’t gotten an answer.
Now, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee is renewing his call for Holder to explain whether or not any of the dozen people who used spying tools to track their spouses or others without authorization have been punished.
“Of course, the overwhelming majority of those who work in our national security and intelligence communities are dedicated, law-abiding people who deserve our profound thanks for helping to keep us safe,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Holder on Monday. “Nonetheless, there must be appropriate accountability for those few who violate the trust placed in them.
“Unfortunately, the American people still do not know whether anyone has been held accountable by the Department of Justice for abusing surveillance laws designed to acquire foreign intelligence information and protect the United States against terrorist attacks.”
In 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden released his trove of documents about the NSA, the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that there had been twelve documented instances of “intentional misuse” of the NSA’s communications collection powers by agency employees since 2003.
In one case, an employee spied on a phone number she found in her husband’s cellphone because she suspected he was cheating on her. In another, an NSA employee tracked nine different phone numbers belonging to foreign women — including at least one whom he had been sleeping with — and listened to their conversations.
At least six of those instances had been referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. But Holder has never responded to an October, 2013, letter from Grassley asking what happened after that.
In a hearing one year ago, Holder told Grassley that the department would respond “soon,” but that response never came.
“I believe it is appropriate that you respond to my original request without delay,” Grassley wrote on Monday.
Holder is set to leave the administration soon, assuming his successor is confirmed by the Senate. Confirmation hearings for Loretta Lynch, the attorney nominated by President Obama to replace Holder, were held last week.